I finished my 7th book in the Back to the Classics Challenge I am doing this year! War and Peace is a book I have been wanting to read for quite some time and this challenge gave me the push to do it. This is in the category of "Very Long Classic Novel" for the challenge.
As a whole I really enjoyed reading this classic. Tolstoy is incredible at expressing the emotion and tension that exists in and among people. His style is very involved, which keeps you from wondering what is going on inside of his characters, but is mysterious enough to keep you reading to find out what will happen with his characters. You are drawn in by the lives of these people and get to the point of caring for them as if they are real. You want to know what is going to happen.
From all of this I realized that the name War and Peace really has a two-fold meaning, whether Tolstoy intended it or not. This book reflects time of war and time of peace in Russia during the early 1800s, the obvious meaning of the title. However, as you hear the inner thoughts of the characters and see what they are dealing with in their daily lives, we also experience the time of war and the time of peace in their souls and in their personal lives.
There were two downfalls for me. One being some of the war sequences that just seemed to drag on and added nothing to the story. The second was the ending. It fell off and made me wonder what the point was in ending it that way. I felt like it should have been ended a few chapters before it was.
This book was far more than I expected and I hope to read it again. I look forward to reading it with my kids and working through the thoughts and feelings as well as the history told in this book. I highly recommend it!
I would give it 4 stars.